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* Antennas are usually the first step since it's just straight up metal bent into the right length and shape. Build a QFH to receive weather satellite data directly. Build a Yagi to talk to the ISS (that is, usually people using the ISS repeater) or other satellites.

* Kits for peripherals usually comes next. Antenna tuners, power meters, etc.

* Kit radios themselves. Usually more complicated than regular kits but the potential for hands-on learning is huge.

* Tweaking and tuning. Like squeezing every ounce of performance out of your code, you can always refine your radio setup to go farther or do more on less power.

* SOTA - Summits On The Air. Assemble a radio setup that's light enough to carry to the top of a mountain then prove that it works by contacting other people with it. Typically this is a small COTS or kit radio running on AA batteries with a homebrew antenna.

* EME - Create a high-gain directional antenna and a high power amplifier. Aim it the moon and see if you can hear yourself.




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